Monday, April 04, 2005
Reflections on Life caching using Lifeblog
The very cool site Trendwatching.com, a place for emerging
trends have returned to the the topic of Life caching, a term for a mega trend
they 'discovered' in September. I think they are spot on. This is an emerging
mega trend, actually one which will shape most people in one way or another. In
short it is the future of memories, and as such the future of civilization…Ok
it sounds grand..anyway I was really flattered to be used as a good example. Thanks
guys, keep on discovering trends! lets meet someday.
At the end of the post I have collected 6 lessons learned and questions I am thinking of.
I have life cached for a year now using Lifeblog. I have a bit over 10000 items in my Lifeblog. I keep a bit over 500 of them in my pocket all the time, perfectly in sync. I have shared on-line around 350 items of which 100 text driven and 250 are image driven. The dominant form of content is images. Around 3000 are text messages. I have written a couple hundred diary notes. Many thousand pictures have been renamed, I have added location info to hundreds of images.
Lifeblog is my diary - Moving Experience is my bulletinboard.
Generally I use Lifeblog as a tool to help me remember anything. People, places, things, moments, passwords. With good search, I find anything quickly, atleast on the PC. Yes, we are working on search on the mobile client ;-) My Lifeblog is about my kids, my communication and things I want to remember. It is very private and if I would not do this as my job I would not show it to anyone. My blog Moving Experiences is about stuff I want to share. Public, not very personal. I am happy with the total concept, it fits my ambition level (very busy manager and father of two small children.) Most importantly my family and some friends are regular readers! So what have I learned?
Before I share that I need to go back further into my life to give you a perspective of my whole digital life. I have exclusively used an electronic calendar and notepad since 1992 when the first Powerbooks came out. In 1993 I switched to the Newton, then to the Psion S3a, S3c, the Series 5 on the day it was launched and later to the Psion Revo. Of these I liked the Psion Revo most. After that the Nokia Communicator came into my life and I was first using the 9110 in parallell to my Psion, when the 9210 matured I used it. It was really hard to leave qwerty behind and adopt an imaging phone. Now I am hooked. The key thing I recorded was "Jotter" notes, small snippets of unrelated information of which only I could make sense of. To my own amazement I managed to migrate everything until I started using Nokia products. I was really frustrated and mad that we did not see the value in good migration SW...
My digital imaging experience started in the Spring of 1999, with a SONY, the
one with the rotating lens, the first one to have the Zeiss lens on it. I
immidiately realised that this is fundmentally changing photography. I had
always photographed alot, as a son of a photographer, I had free film...
My digital pictures ended up on my Mac, just in folders. I did not want to start using any album SW until iPhoto came along. When iPhoto was launched I switched to it. I was my preferred choice until I migrated to Lifeblog.
When Karen was born in 2001, I started recording digital video. I have a bit over 1000 clips imported in iMovie, but like most, I never made the “First year of Karen movie” I realized that the clips alone are great. So my digital life is now around 150 GB including music, most of it is in DV Movie native format. Unfortunately it will not fit on my IBM X40 nor my Nokia 6680 with 256MB, so I have a real asset problem, which still needs to be solved…
So what have I learned?
Lesson 1: We will record more than can fit into a phone or a laptop and these devices are the ones people carry around. - Where is the unlimited storage?
Lesson 2: I have one life, it is seamlessly split between work and leisure. I really want to access it from anywhere. - Can this become the norm or will corporate IT and security personel decide, what I store? They already decide what computer I should use, what apps to use etc. (OK, most people are not working in large organizations.)
Lesson 3: I have one life and hence one asset of memories, it all has to be in sync. - What would be a sync solution robust enough to manage 1 million files that can be anywhere and everywhere in numerous ‘resolutions’?
Lesson 4: Different media has different value to me. - How can we make the system forget, but still be able to retrive if I really ‘think’ hard.
Lesson 5: Having lots of memories in the pocket is fun and useful. – The sync challenge again.
Lesson 6: When I am participating in an ‘event’ I also want to have pictures that I am in. – How can I get other people’s memories in which I appear, with ease?
As conclusions, we have come a bit on the journey to Vannevar Bush’s Memex vision, but there is plenty of work left to do…
Hardware has to develope in more than one way (storage). Faster processors and devices with enough memory to handle multitasking and large mediafiles are too essential to get the user experience to a painless (=fast) level.
My 7610 is overall quite snappy, but I still hope the 6680 you are using is much better in this regard.
Posted by: Henrikki at Apr 5, 2005 9:44:47 AM
Storing digital information is by far the most challenging task in the future. What is the lifetime of a selfburned CD/DVD? Not enough. What is the lifetime of a hard drive? Even less. What should I do with all my valuable digital images, sound clips, animations etc. I have taken? Now there is a real problem to solve.
Posted by: Marcus at Apr 5, 2005 10:53:35 AM
Have you not purchased any memory cards?
These are the portable memory of today offering up to multiple GBs of storage in a tiny package.
I'm a LifeBlog user even if in a somewhat convoluted way. See my blog for the description, and for the result. I have more photos that I need to upload over the weekend. I've enjoyed using the combination of Typepad and LifeBlog very much.
Posted by: mobile jones at Apr 8, 2005 1:21:45 PM
Even though I have criticised Lifeblog in the past (http://www.rolandtanglao.com/archives/2005/02/09/why_lifeblog_should_support_the_metaweblog_api), I would really like to get the firmware in my 7610 (that I paid for with my own money even though it's not officially available in Canada) upgraded so I can try it with Flickr (I have 10, 000 photos in Flickr so I am very interested in Lifeblog's new flickr integration).
If you can help me upgrade the firmware in my 7610 (http://www.rolandtanglao.com/archives/2005/03/17/how_do_i_upgrade_my_7610_firmware_so_i_can_run_lifeblog_15_and_post_to_flickr), please contact me roland AT bryght.com or via AIM/Skype: rtanglao or via phone at +1 604 729 7924
Posted by: Roland Tanglao at Apr 11, 2005 10:16:50 AM
IMHO, the unlimited space is in PC servers, either at home or rented. The same that you can access your written diary wirelessly and you do not need to have it into your phone, in a not so distant future you'll be able to stream those fullres DV clips to your phone in a suitable transcoded format on the fly at reasonable prices. Wether those contents reside locally on your phone or not is of no importance as long as the interface to access them is well thought, and its use is so common that you are satisfied to pay the, yet-to-come, lower prices of mobile internet access.
That's what I think, at least.
Posted by: elmimmo at Apr 11, 2005 10:35:56 PM
Well, what about the idea of the 'personal server' where all your stuff goes? You have, say a terabyte of storage on there, and it's backed up to three locations around the world.
Technically and economically, this is very achievable. The main issues I see are around standard-setting, so that customers can access and manipulate their information using a variety of interoperable tools, and move their database from hoster to hoster without too much trouble.
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